There are many reasons why we should adjust this thinking that the married fella is an absolutely responsible person or that being married is a prerequisite for somebody to be adjudged as ‘responsible’. Qualification to lead must not be based on one’s matrimonial impetus but on the interest ones has in the uplift of one’s people. There was a certain Chinese leader. He fathered a child before he became afflicted with a serious sexually transmitted disease and this was why he was unable to get married when the social clock ticked and ticked for him to. But he was a leader anyway and this was because it was clear to all, even the ordinary Chinaman that this protagonist was ready to lay his life down for them. He is now classified among other revered Chinese leaders who laid that solid foundation for China that some great nations of the world fear today.
If marriage and getting married should be a prerequisite for political leadership, then all who have led us and are ‘responsible’ for most of our problems today either owe us an apology or they should be behind bars now. Being married and being responsible to a wife and children certainly should be a veritable parameter to assume that because such and such a person takes such responsibility for others, they would do well in the care industry and in the welfare of the fatherland also. That expectation is a normal one because that family unit, like we were taught in Sociology classes is the single most sensitive unit in society. That ability to have a family and take responsibility for the lives of others is no mean feat. Almost everything you do, think and say revolve around that family of yours and on how you could give or even steal to give them the best. And I guess this is why some equate being ‘responsible’ with matrimony and matrimony with responsibility. But it would be puerile to assume that because you can take care of your family unit makes you a responsible person. Sometimes, irresponsibility as it concerns our national patrimony is more to be found among those who place their family first, divert monies meant for us all and leave us to suffer. It is non-sequitor to place a matrimonial embargo on those who are yet unmarried because really, if you look at it again, those unmarried certainly do not have any of the encumbrances and the selfishness that is ordinarily attributable to ‘responsible’ married people. A lot of people who have not had the good fortune to have a nuclear family to put first and foremost, and are aspiring to lead us resemble some priests and nuns we have in the Catholic Church. They take vows to remain chaste and inadvertently get married to their callings and to the people they serve. They do not have any of the shortcomings usually ascribable to the ordinary person whose primary area of responsibility is the nuclear rather than the extended unit of humanity. I have not been able to forget the Fathers who were my lecturers in my undergrad days. They were lecturers just like any other lecturer but there was something about them that commanded a lot of respect, affection and responsibility. Whatever they said struck and stuck and this was because we believed in them knowing that they had no inordinate interests in the things they said to us and taught. They had no families. We were. They had no landed property. We were. They had no children apart from us and they were very much in loco parentis to us. On a certain day, one of them asked all of the girls in my class to stand up. He then proceeded to warn them that they must not have anything serious to do with us in matters relating to the heart. To him, we were too young to get married, what with the fact that we were yet undergrads and that it would take some time for us to be established in life before we would ever begin to think of getting married. For this Rev. Father, it was best for the girls to expect to be wooed by people outside of the university community who have had more clout and made some of the wherewithal with which to be responsible to a family. It sounded crazy then but it makes a whole lot of sense, doesn’t it? The Rev. Father did not stop there. He asked his daughters, the girls in the class to practice nun quam solus un sola, Latin gibberish for abstinence and what could ordinarily be theme for an anti-AIDS message today.
What am I trying to say here in earnest? It is that we have a big problem on our hands when we begin to arrogate to certain people positions of responsibility just because they belong to certain social institutions. I am saying here that the hood has never made the monk, well, in a manner of speaking. And that we must be very mindful that we change the way we think. Please let me quote the words of my mentor, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jnr., that ‘shallow understanding from people of goodwill is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill-will’. We must think straight and keep a clear head when it comes to matters that concern the future political leadership and hegemony in this country. We must ignore those unseen hands of ignorance that reach out to us in matters that demand that we apply ourselves to the issues on ground rather than on such red-herrings like the matrimonial positions of those who aspire to lead us. The monks that I described above were not married maybe because of their vocation but the impact they made in that undergraduate class was unprecedented. As contradistinction however, we had married men and women, the supposedly responsible people slapping each other and engaging in fisticuffs in the hallowed chambers of the Senate and House of Reps.